Chicago Travel Guide – The Relaxing Version

August 2, 2017 in Travel

If you follow along on Instagram you probably know I arrived back from a 14 day adventure down the West Coast. My mom and sister were with me and I met up with some friends on the last weekend. But before the adventure began, I had a work trip to attend in Chicago while my mom and sister were living it up in Idaho! Seriously, they were – huckleberry vodka was involved! Thankfully, my bestie Julia was able to tag along and honestly it was one of the best parts of the trip! So here is your non-touristy Chicago travel guide!

If you are a small town girl like me you probably have a similar outlook on cities. Too much cement, always surprisingly cold, lots of walking, getting lost, and shopping options that will make you blow your entire trip budget immediately! I had visited Chicago before and done most of the touristy stuff and Julia was down for whatever so we went in with no plan! So here is a guide ranked from super relaxing to not so relaxing for fun exciting things to do in Chicago!

#1 Treat Yo’Self (Super Relaxing)

Since I was going to the beach after Chicago my nails were in dire need of a touch up. Julia and I had already planned to go to get mani pedi’s prior to the trip and found a great little spot called Spa O Club just a block away from our hotel. They had a early bird special of a mani & pedi for only $40 – such a deal!

Another budget friendly pampering option: blowouts! When I was in Nashville last year I got my first blowout and swore it would be on my to do list for every trip going forward. On the last day I was a bit of a hot mess – my meetings got done early and I had 2 hours to kill before leaving for the airport. I ended up trucking my suitcase and two carry on’s to three, count em’ THREE different blowout salons until they could fit me in. Most were booked up so no ill will on the salons since I was last minute. But through my trek I did get a peek into a few of them and would only recommend 2 out of the three. Read more…

Apartment Decor Roundup – All Under $2,500!

July 13, 2017 in Design Plans / Home Design

Today I’m excited to share with you my first design roundup of affordable apartment decor. I was recently contacted by a reader to help decorate her new apartment in Kansas City. After sending her over a few design options and we finalized a plan. I can’t wait to share the finished room with you all in the fall! There were a few design plans we didn’t end up using and so I decided to do a roundup of four different styles. These plans are for the twenty-something gal on a budget. Every design plan includes affordable apartment decor for your kitchen, dining room, and living room – a common open concept layout for small spaces. Each plan also comes in at under $2,500!!!

affordable apartment decor

Affordable Apartment Decor

The four styles I worked within are Bohemian, Farmhouse, Fashionista, and Midcentury. I found some awesome deals and you could honestly mix and match between styles very easily if you align with more than one. I usually fall into the Bohemian vibe – but I also like a lot more color then most. The Fashionista board really stole my heart.

My parameters for affordable apartment decor included large (normally expensive) pieces for three full rooms (kitchen, dining, living), be on budget and affordable (under $2,500), and use copper accents (just for a fun challenge).

Reader Discount!

There are also three pieces of art I used on every plan (this print clip, this letterboard, and this print by Bezalel and Babel). All three match perfectly and are super affordable. Jess at Bezalel and Babel is also offering all my readers a 15% discount code! Read through to the bottom to get the code!

The plans also gives a good base style for finding items in your own city shops and thrift stores to work toward have a cohesive collected home.

Shopping on your own and shopping vintage is a major part of having a “collected home.” A collected home is the difference between your home looking like a Target ad and a place where a person/family actually lives, works and plays! I am currently working on a “Guide to Achieving a Collected Home” download so be sure to sign up for the newsletter to be the first to get it! 


affordable apartment decor

Bar Stools | Kitchen Runner | Letterboard | Copper Print Clip | Let’s Get Cozy Print | Copper Utensils | Plant Hanger | Dining Table | Dining Chairs | Dining Rug | Dining Room Print | Dining Room Pendant Light | Living Room Sofa | Living Room Rug | Curtains | Living Room Print | Coffee Table | Accent Chair

First up in affordable apartment decor styles, bohemian! This one is for aspiring plant ladies and the gals who love their neutrals. My favorite pieces are the dining room chairs, the gem print (only $15!), and the accent chair. If you need a bit more color I would highly recommend using the gem print as a large art piece and working with the colors found in each of the gems (including that stunning emerald green sofa!) The rug is also a great neutral investment and is used on our next plan, Farmhouse. Read more…

25 Things I’ve Learned In My 25 Years!

July 10, 2017 in Stories

It’s been a few weeks since I have had something to post about! I’m currently working on a few posts but since they are series I am waiting to publish them until they are all done. I recently celebrated my 25th birthday and given that I am now a quarter of a century old I will bestow upon you my wise words of wisdom.* My close family and friends have noted how different I am now then when I was in college. I think JR’s exact words were “you are a lot less uptight.” I’ll take that as a compliment! So below are 25 things I’ve learned in the past few years.

*if you didn’t read this in a sarcastic voice you are reading it wrong! Read more…

Our Unbelievable Deck Renovation

June 23, 2017 in Home Design / Room Reveals

Ok, so I might be humble bragging a bit by calling our own work unbelievable but honestly, we just can’t believe we turned our crappy run down deck into essentially a Home and Gardens spread. #sorrynotsorry

It all started, as all project should, with a good deck renovation plan. We revamped our railing – you can check out the story and some helpful tips! Then we slathered on some paint and deck resurfacer. And voila! A modern boho outdoor space dream! Above is our deck halfway through the new railing being installed. (I am kicking myself for not getting pics of this with the old railing!) It was old, moldly, and definitely needed some new life breathed into it!   Ready for some killer before and afters? Read more…

Deck Renovation Part 2: Painting the Deck

June 23, 2017 in DIY Tutorials / Home Design

Have you ever reminisced about your 7th grade summers detasseling corn in the hot Nebraska sun? No? Me either. But if you would like a similar experience as an adult try painting your deck!

To start you need to decide on your color(s) and figure out which product fits your situation best. After looking at a few photos online we decided we really liked the two tone effect created by painting the railing and deck base different colors. The trim on our house is white and the siding is a light blue-gray color so we chose to do the new railing white and the base blue-gray. After looking at a few reviews and chatting with the guy at Lowe’s we landed on Sherwin Williams Weathershield in White Satin and Olympic RESCUE-IT Moderate in Powder Mill (it is pretty gray but dries more blue then it looks). He then guided us on the best rollers to use for each product and we got to work.

I read a ton of different blogs and reviews about these products and people’s experiences painting and to be honest I was seriously dreading it. One gal said it took her one month to do her deck. ONE MONTH! She said it was super labor intensive and she had to keep stopping because it was so overwhelming. Uhhh, sign me up? So I can joke about it being as bad as a 10 hour day detasseling but we honestly got it done over the course of 3 days and it wasn’t all that terrible.

Prepping Your Deck

I am notorious for wanting to jump right in and get the project started. JR can’t stand it. He is all about prep work and following the directions to a tee. Be sure to account for prep work in your deck base painting plan (see below) as you will need to give yourself 24 hours post-cleaning. We used the Olympic Biodegradable Deck Cleaner. To apply use one of these handy dandy pump sprayers. I wouldn’t skimp on this part – apparently there are other deck cleaners that come with a sprayer built in but don’t work as well – you can check out YHL’s experience with other cleaners here.

We sprayed the cleaner on and let it sit per the instructions and then power washed it off with our new power washer. It worked fabulously!! I don’t think this deck had been cleaned in 10+ years! I read a couple other reviews about a regular hose with a sprayer attachment working fine but our deck was super dirty and we were in the market for a power washer any ways! Read more…

Deck Renovation Part 1: Installing A New Railing

June 20, 2017 in DIY Tutorials / Home Design

Out of all the projects we have done the deck has been by far the most labor intensive. When we initially bought the house we figured we would leave it as is and tear it down in a few years and build a brand new one. Upon closer inspection (and a little planning magic) we decided to take it on this spring so we could enjoy it all summer! Structurally the deck is safe and sound but there were a few minor (major!) tweaks that needed to be done to bring it up to speed. You can check out our initial deck design plan here!

The first big project we needed to complete was tearing down the old railing and installing a new one. The old railing was pretty unsafe – the trellis part would literally dissolve into a pile of dust if you kicked through it – and pretty ugly. The top of the railing (the actual rail) was also super warped and uneven. Here is what we started with.

The stair portion of the railing was different though and had horizontal pieces that were in fairly good shape. We decided to go with similar design to tie into that existing railing and save us a little time and money.

To start we decided on a design – horizontal planks. Most decks have vertical planks and these can be beneficial in a few ways – two big examples are that water runs off them well so they stay more dry and kids are less likely to try and climb on them. Horizontal planks are more affordable and easier to install – we went that route! Read more…

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